Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Postprint: Norris, G. and Wilson, P. (2003) “Relationship of Criminal Behaviour and Mental Illness in Young Adults: Conduct Disorder, Cruelty to Animals and Young Adult Serious Violence” in Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, Vol 10, No 1, pp 239-243
This article is published in "Psychiatry, Psychology and the Law"
For more information see Australian Academic Press


Many mental health professionals working with children and juveniles either do not have the training in psychological testing techniques, or sufficient diagnostic time to recognise significant indicators of future serious violent offending. The research literature suggests the diagnosis of conduct disorder (CD) can be a strong indicator of serious young adult violence. One component of CD, cruelty to animals, would also appear to be a significant indicator or "red flag" in the background of many serial killers and thus, it is suggested, in the history of perpetrators of other forms of major interpersonal violence. Either concurrently with CD or as a major indicator of antisocial behaviour in its own right, cruelty to animals deserves more attention from both a research and assessment perspective.



This document has been peer reviewed.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.